I think yesterday was the first time I had to shovel snow this year. There wasn't a lot, and it was nice and light (because it was cold as heck), but there was still enough that it needed shoveled. If I remember correctly it snowed a couple times earlier, but not significant enough to need shoveling. This morning it is also 0 degrees F. I guess it's winter. One of these years I'm going to need a snow blower.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Jane had a party for the people at her branch last night. We went to Biaggi's at 6:30 pm. It was the workers and their spouses. There were 13 of us altogether. I believe everyone came except one of the guys upstairs. It was nice. We both had the spaghetti marinara. I wished I'd gotten something else when it arrived, but I was hungry for spaghetti. It's not that it tasted bad, but it was just different than I'm used to. I do like that Biaggi's now has a "lighter side" menu. I should have gotten something from that. Oh well. It was nice and we had a good time. We sat across from Steve & Pam, and Jane was beside Bridgette. I was on the left end, because, you know, I eat left handed. The other lefty was on the left end of the other side (Dawn).
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Jane bought me all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad on DVD for my birthday (11/2). We just finished the entire series Saturday night. Geez Louise, we got ourselves addicted. I am, however, glad we are done. I think I was starting to think a bit too much like Walter White, and that's not good. I can clearly see why many call this the best TV series ever, and how it set a record for 'most watched.'
I won't go into the details of the show - in case you haven't seen it and want to - but you can always read up on it on Wikipedia if you want to know what it's about. It is called a "modern-day western." I don't think it's because it has any cowboys in it, but it's the classic story line where the supposed "good guys" do bad things and the "bad guys" are really good on the inside. Jane and I were both rooting for Jesse and Saul by the end of the series (and Michael a little), though I always felt bad for Walter. This 'good vs. bad' tension is probably why I liked it, but it was also more of a movie-quality TV show than what you find on network TV. The dialogue was more real, and you had to come to many of your own conclusions based on the character's demeanor and expressions; rather than like most TV shows where the characters have these totally unrealistic conversations that are really just meant to let us viewers know what's going on. It left more un-said - which I think pulls the viewer in a bit more, but also requires more effort.
One thing I would like to point out... If you do like us and buy all 5 seasons on DVD, don't think you're done when you get to the final episode of season 5. We were all psyched for the last episode (episode 8 of season 5) and were really confused and somewhat disappointed when we thought that was the way it ended. Then we discovered that there is a "Part 2" to season 5 that didn't come with the set. It is called "The Final Season," and is 8 more episodes. So we had to buy that separate. A nice marketing gimmick, but there was no way we weren't going to get it (which, I'm sure, is the whole point).
I thought this was a superbly done series, and I really liked it, but I don't know that I would recommend it for everyone. There is a good bit of blood and guts, and the subject matter isn't good for everyone. Like I said, I got hooked, but I was kind of glad when it was over. I didn't need to get any "higher," so to speak.
All in all it was a great birthday present. It is currently pushing Sienfeld status as far as things Jane and I refer to throughout the day. Which is saying quite a bit.
Monday, December 09, 2013
I almost forgot I went to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire last week. I went in the afternoon by myself. Jane hasn't seen the first one so we didn't figure she should start with the second.
I have not read the books and I admit to not really seeing the excitement entirely, but it was on "okay" movie. I didn't really see how it was all that different from the first one though. I also think I might have fallen asleep for a wee bit at one point. And the ending... really? It's like it just sort of... stopped. It was evident they are leading you on to the next movie.
It was something to do though. Not a bad movie, and I suppose if you're into the Hunger Games it was probably different. But that's just my opinion.
Sunday, December 08, 2013
One night when I couldn't sleep I started clicking through some of the blogs I link to on my sidebar. I was surprised at how many people haven't posted anything since like 2011 or 2012. In fact, very few are still writing. What the heck?
I guess it is a rather antiquated form of communicating. And the blogging world has changed drastically from when I first started in 2005 when there were whole communities of people who knew one another through the blogosphere and developed quite good relationships. I feel like a dinosaur now though.
I was just talking to Lady Jane the other day about whether I should try taking my blog a little more seriously. Like, should I actually try to make some money off of it. My problem is that I can't seem to pinpoint one specific area for my blog to be about. I'm all over the place. There's church stuff, and music, and movies, and politics, and the grandkids, and... my pathetic life... And let's don't forget the haircuts and lawn mowing. Jane thought maybe that's what made this blog unique. I think she was just trying to make me feel better.
Odd as it is, though, I still feel some sort of obligation to try to write something almost every day. That's why I changed the heading back to "Every Day With Dan." Maybe it is unique. I don't know. Certainly it's not popular, but it's something that I can do. There are many things I cannot. Perhaps this is my purpose for living. Who knows.
So... yeah... that's about all I could come up with today.
Saturday, December 07, 2013
There are several updates I would like to make to the house over the next year or two.
Second, I would like to get a battery back-up sump pump. This may be more urgent than the generator. It wouldn't be viable if the power is out for extended periods, but would be helpful for when it goes out and I'm not aware that it's gone out.
Third would be a vent-free gas stove or heater for the basement. Something like one of these two. They price $350 for the stove and $200 or less for the wall-mounted heater. They should sufficiently heat the basement in case of a power outage.
I don't know that any of these things are necessities, but they would provide a lot of peace of mind. It would also be nice to provide a place with heat for the grandkids in the event of extended power outages. It seems that almost every year since we've lived here these happen to some part of Fort Wayne. We've only had a 2-day at our house, but Drew Carrie have gone much longer. So this is my housing wish list. I would think these would all add to the value of the house too.
Friday, December 06, 2013
We have a light in our front yard that I have rigged with one of those dusk-to-dawn sensors. It has seemed lately that it's on almost all the time. I noticed the other day - when I put a green "Christmas" bulb in it - that there were a lot of cobwebs in it. So Tuesday I pulled it all out, and sure enough, the little sensor thing had a bunch of gunk inside it. I cleaned it out, and took my leaf blower to the inside of the light head, and when I put it back together it worked just like it used to. It's amazing how a little maintenance now and then can make a big difference in how things work.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
I finally went all the way and just shaved my head. Some might think I've been watching a little too much Breaking Bad, but I've wanted to do this for a long time. I'm not exactly sure why, but I would say Michael Stipe was maybe more of an influence than Walter White. At any rate, it is done. I don't know if I will keep it like this or not, but I kinda like it for the moment.
First I just took the guard off the clippers and cut it as short as it would go on Tuesday. Then when I was shaving Wednesday, I just kept going. I lathered up almost all of my face and head and took the ol' Gillette Fusion to it. And I didn't even cut myself. I used a liberal amount of aftershave to try to keep the razor burn away.
Btw, I have also started using the clippers to trim my eyebrows - with a #1 guard (I used to rarely trim my eyebrows).
Anyway, I do have to say that it feels really c-l-e-a-n. I thought it would be smoother though. Maybe it will be after a few more shaves. I didn't go against the grain too much, because I was afraid of cutting myself or getting razor burn on this initial run. It was weird when I first put a stocking cap on. The stubble holds it in place like glue. I thought it would be just the opposite.
So... I guess now that's been done.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
The city comes to pick up our leaves by the curb twice a year. This year the trees were slow in dropping their leaves, so the first time the city was scheduled to gather them, we didn't yet have any on the ground. Even the second time - at the end of November - we didn't have a whole lot. People were speculating that they would do another pick-up later in the year, so almost everyone in our neighborhood has a curb full of leaves piled up. I finally got tired of looking at the big piles in front of our house, and I don't really think the city is going to come back through again, so I put them all in bags this week. First I bought a pack of 5 bags at Menards. That hardly seemed to make a dent. So I bought another 5-pack at Meijers yesterday, and I almost got them all. It had rained, so they compressed pretty good, and I was able to get the rest in the garbage dumpster. So they are finally all gone. Of course now I have 10 bags of leaves that I'm going to need to haul out for the garbage pick-up Friday. Along with a full garbage dumpster and a full recycling dumpster. At least the snowplow won't spread them all over the road when that starts flying.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I haven't worked for about four months now, so the other day I was thinking about some ways I have tried to cut back on expenses. Not that we're in a financial bind, necessarily, but every little bit helps (even if you're still working). So here's a random list off the top of my head of some ways to save money:
- Cut your own hair - I paid $20 for a pair of clippers and started cutting my own hair. With hair like mine it's hardly worth paying someone to buzz it all off. Plus, now that it's buzzed, I don't need to buy shampoo or hair products anymore and I use less water when I shower.
- Cut out junk food - We keep ourselves on a fairly limited diet, therefore we don't spend a whole lot on the food we keep in the house. We mostly buy lettuce, vegetables, and meat. I think avoiding junk food and a lot of baked goods helps quite a bit. We also drink mostly water.
- Cut out over-priced coffee - If I feel like splurging for an afternoon coffee or something, I'll just go to McDonald's. Their coffee is not that bad, and at many locations you can get it for $1. Although it is rare that I ever buy coffee anyway. Usually I just make decaf at home and have it in the morning.
- Cut down on clothes - I don't remember the last time I bought any clothes. I could probably go several years without buying anything new. I guess I did get a couple new golf-type shirts this year, but they were to replace the ones I've had for years. Just how many clothes and pairs of shoes does a person need? I remember a friend of mine once got rid of all his clothes except for 6 outfits. He was a professional person who survived quite well.
- Cut out unnecessary driving - I've been trying not to drive much. I used to like to 'cruise around' a lot, but there are many days now where I don't even leave the house. Sometimes I will walk down to the gas station or down to Bluffton Road if there is something I need during the day. It has also forced me to touch base with my neighbors.
- Cut out eating out - If I have one downfall it is eating out. I like to go out to eat. We always go out at least one night a week (date night), but we've tried to limit it to that. Plus I don't eat lunch out. I have a salad almost every single day. I only eat breakfast out 1 day a week - and that is more of a social thing with my pastor friends than anything. So there are ways to limit eating out.
- Cut the cable - One thing we did before I lost my job, but it has saved us a ton of money, is get rid of cable TV. We just have an antenna and only get local stations, but you can find so much online anymore. It beats the heck out of paying $70+ a month for more channels of stuff I don't really care to watch anyway (at least for me).
Monday, December 02, 2013
If you have ever wanted to learn a new language, or how to cook, or take a college course, learn guitar, how to write computer code... and a whole host of other things - AND YOU WANT TO DO IT FOR FREE - then you need to check out this link. I saw some people post it on Facebook and it's called 25 Killer Websites that Make You Cleverer. Some of them are downright awesome. I need to revisit this over and over.
I actually think I would like to take some time each day to try to learn Spanish, and hone up on my guitar skills. I would eventually like to have a 4 or 5 song set list I could pull out of my hat at a moment's notice. Plus learning to cook would be nice, and maybe some mind tools to use to get a job, and...